MY FAVORITE SPRING SALAD

I’m obsessed with this salad for a number of reasons: It’s really easy to prepare and contains a number of really healthy nutrients – but most importantly – it’s so tasty. I love to use candy-striped beets because they are so pretty, and because they don’t stain your hands when you grate them.

Seves 2

1 large candy-striped beet ( or regular if you can’t find the candy-sritpe)

2 cups of baby salad leaves

1/2 cup Marcona Almonds (if you live near a Trader Joe’s, you’re in luck because they carry them, roasted and salted.

1 cup of crumbled feta cheese

1/2 cup really good quality olive oil

1tbsp fresh lemon juice

Sea salt and pepper

 

SPINACH & FETA ONE POT PIE

I love this so much that I make it as least once every two weeks. It’s a one-pot version of a Spanokopita, but so much more delicious and healthy because I use less pasty. If you have a small cast iron pan like the one pictured, I highly recommend using it as it bakes this little pie to perfection. It’s a great Holiday stand-by dish for vegetarians. Once you’ve given it a try, I promise it’ll go up there in your top easy-to-throw-together recipes.

Serves 4

1 box whole wheat filo pastry

1/2 cup olive oil

6 ounces baby spinach leaves*

3 eggs*

5 ounces feta cheese

2 or 3 marinated red bell peppers (optional)

1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, chopped

1/2 tsp sea salt & 1/2tsp black pepper

* I highly recommend buying organic eggs and spinach.

 

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F

 

Grease the bottom of your cast iron skillet (if you don’t have one, use a round pie dish instead.)

Open out the rolled up pastry and lay half a sheet in the bottom of the pan. Gently brush with olive oil and lay over another sheet. Continue until you have 6 sheets layered on top of one another. Don’t worry if the pastry sheets come apart (they always do,) just patch up where necessary.

Steam the spinach for 2 or 3 minutes and then drain.

Lightly beat the eggs in a medium bowl and crumble the feta into it. Add the bell peppers and/or olives and seasoning.

Squeeze any remaining water out of the spinach with your hands, then add to the bowl and combine well.

Pour the egg mixture into your skillet. Top with another sheet of filo pastry, brush the pastry with olive oil and continue until you have 6-8 sheets. Brush the top sheet with olive oil and place in the oven for 35 minutes or until crisp and lightly browned on top.

VEGAN SPANAKOPITA

I love the traditional spinach & feta Greek pie, but I wanted to have a go at making a vegan version, where I wouldn’t be using a couple of sticks of butter for the phyllo. I also love to substitute firm tofu for the feta as the textures are pretty similar. Preparing phyllo pastry can always be a bit fiddly, but this is sooooooo worth the effort. I made this pie, which serves 6 for the 3 of us (husband, daughter & I,) and there was a tiny square left. Also think about it.. a 10 year old eating spinach and chard?? (this pie is packed with it but fully disguised because of all the good flavors).

You can use any mushrooms, but because I spotted some lovely Shitake mushrooms at the market, I grabbed them as they have so many health benefits. As you can see from the photo, I barely had any light left to take the photo ( I always rely on natural daylight,) the sun was almost gone from the end of my yard, so I held up the plate in the last few golden rays – still you get the idea!

Vegan Mushroom & Chard Spanakopita

 

2 tbsp grapeseed or olive  oil

2 large brown onions, chopped

2 cups Shitake or brown mushrooms, chopped

5 garlic cloves, chopped (seems like a lot but you need the flavor)

1tbsp fresh Oregano or 1tsp of dried

1 bunch of Swiss Chard, stalks & spines removed

1 bag of baby spinach

1 14oz container extra firm tofu, drained

Grated zest of one lemon

Juice of one lemon

1tbsp Worcestershire Sauce

1 cup Kalamata olives, chopped

Black pepper

1 tsp Sea Salt

1 box phyllo pastry dough

Olive oil for brushing the phyllo

 

In a large frying pan, heat the oil and add the onions, mushrooms, garlic and herbs. Turn the heat down to low and cover the pan. Cook for about 20 minutes or until the onions are soft.

Steam and drain the greens together, and when they are cool, make sure you squeeze out any excess water and chop them well.

In a large bowl, mash the tofu, add the onion mixture and the greens, combining everything really well. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, olives, black pepper and salt.

Grease a 3 ¼ quart baking dish.

Unroll the phyllo sheets carefully. Try pulling the first sheet off and add it to bottom of dish, brush with olive oil and then add the next sheet – continue up to 5 sheets.  Many of my sheets came apart and I made a total mess  - however, it doesn’t matter if you don’t have perfectly smooth/unbroken sheets – I PROMISE Add the filling. Finally, lay another 8 greased phyllo sheets on top of the pie.

Place in the oven for 60 minutes or until golden brown.